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Despite battling a cold, President Biden has packed his schedule this weekend with a maskless dinner out on the town and plans to attend a Kennedy Center event.
During a Friday speech on the disappointing jobs report, Biden spoke in a hoarse voice and coughed multiple times during the event.
BIDEN EXPLAINS COUGHING, HOARSE VOICE, SAYS GRANDSON GAVE HIM A COLD
Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked the president about his health after his remarks concluded, and Biden responded that he picked up the cold from his grandson.
“I’m OK, I have a test every day — a COVID test. I have been checking for all the strains. What I have is a 1-and-a-half year-old grandson, who had a cold, who loves to kiss his pop,” Biden said.
Later on Friday, White House physician Kevin O’Connor released an assessment, contradicting Biden’s claim that he gets COVID tested daily, but confirming the president’s cold diagnosis.
“As is readily apparent, President Biden is experiencing some increased nasal congestion this week,” O’Connor wrote. “This can be heard in his voice and he is feeling the colloquially well-known ‘frog in one’s throat.'”
“Investigation has included a comprehensive respiratory panel which includes 19 common respiratory pathogens, to include COVID-19, other coronaviruses, influenze, streptococcus, to name a few,” O’Connor said. “All of these tests were negative. Including the above, he has been tested for COVID-19 three times this week.”
Despite his earlier coughing fit, Biden was spotted dining in the private room at new restaurant by Enrique Limardo, Imperfecto, on Friday night. Biden was not seen wearing a mask inside the restaurant or when exiting.
While Washington, D.C., lifted its indoor mask mandate last week, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Friday during the daily press briefing that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently outlined areas where indoor mask mandates should be reinstated, including high-transmission places such as D.C. and New York, given the new omicron variant.
Additionally, first lady Jill Biden’s spokesperson confirmed the Bidens will attend the 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime artistic achievements on Sunday. Vice President Kamala Harris and Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff will also be present at the event honoring “Saturday Night Live” creator Lorne Michaels, Motown founder Berry Gordy, singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell and others.
Last weekend, Biden was seen maskless shopping in Nantucket, Massachusetts, over the Thanksgiving holiday. He was spotted by reporters through a door which has a sign that reads: “Required Face Covering.” When asked about it, Psaki said the president follows the recommendations and the advice of the CDC and will continue to model behavior he hopes the American people will follow.
Since Biden took office, White House has been focused on keeping coronavirus under control on the grounds. Biden has been fully vaccinated and also received a booster dose of the vaccine, but breakthrough cases in fully vaccinated individuals have been becoming more common over the last few months.
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Biden, who is 79 years old, is at high risk of complication from the coronavirus, according to the CDC.
Fox News’ Timothy Nerozzi contributed to this report.